Jessica Trisko Darden, Ph.D.

Jessica Trisko Darden, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


  • PhD McGill University
  • MA University of Texas at Austin
  • BA McGill University

Jessica Trisko Darden is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at VCU where she teaches courses on political violence, human rights, and women in politics. She is also a Non-resident Fellow at the George Washington University's Program on Extremism. Dr. Trisko Darden was previously an Assistant Professor at American University's School of International Service, where she received the SIS Outstanding Scholarship Award for Faculty in 2020. She has served as a Jeane Kirkpatrick Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a Visiting Scholar at Yale University's Program on Order, Conflict and Violence.

Dr. Trisko Darden's research focuses on the relationship between international development, gender, and conflict. Her book, Aiding and Abetting: U.S. Foreign Assistance and State Violence (Stanford, 2020) is described by Prof. William Easterly as "a critical book at a time when the U.S. approach to human rights is in deep crisis and global human rights are in grave danger." Dr. Trisko Darden has published peer-reviewed articles on alliance dynamics, political violence, gender and conflict, and human security.

Dr. Trisko Darden has contributed op-eds and commentary on international politics and conflict to The Baltimore Sun, The Conversation, The Economist, The Guardian, Newsweek, The New York Times, US News and World Report and The Washington Post. She been interviewed by BBC World Service, CNN, The Globe and Mail, The Today Show, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. She's been featured on Cato's Power Problems podcast and AEI's Banter podcast. You can listen to her NPR On Point interview about what to do with the women and children of the Islamic State.


Dr. Trisko Darden has expertise in: U.S. foreign aid; development and security; human rights; Asia (particularly Southeast Asia and Central Asia); and gender issues and security.

Select Publications

Jessica Trisko Darden, Aiding and Abetting: U.S. Foreign Assistance and State Violence (Stanford University Press, 2020).

Izabela Steflja and Jessica Trisko Darden, Women as War Criminals: Gender, Agency, and Justice (Stanford University Press, 2020).

Jessica Trisko Darden, Alexis Henshaw, and Ora Szekely, Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars (Georgetown University Press, 2019).

Jessica Trisko Darden and Izabela Steflja, “Women and War Crimes: Finding Accountability for Female Perpetrators.” Policy Roundtable on Gender and National Security, Texas National Security Review. October 2020.

Jessica Trisko Darden, “Policing Young Minds: Education and Security Policy in British Southeast Asia.” Asian Journal of Comparative Politics 4, 3 (2019): 273-288. doi: 10.1177/2057891118811687

Jessica Trisko Darden, Development Assistance and Counterterrorism. (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute, September 2019).

Jessica Trisko Darden, Tacking Terrorists’ Exploitation of Youth. (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute, May 2019).